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Student Feedback Survey (SFS)

This page is no longer being updated as the pqu website is being decommissioned.

TEACHING STAFF - please refer to Student feedback and surveys on Staff Connect for current information on this topic.


Staff FAQ


What is the Student Feedback Survey (SFS)?

The Student Feedback Survey (SFS) is a UTS-approved method of collecting student evaluation of teaching and learning. It was developed in 2005 by combining elements of two existing survey tools: the Subject Feedback Survey (introduced in 2001) and the Feedback on Teaching Survey (used since 1990). The online version of the SFS replaced the original paper-based forms and has been in use since 2008:

In 2014 a formal Review of the SFS led to the development of a new three-tiered SFS questionnaire. This new summative questionnaire is being phased in during 2015. For more information on the SFS Review and its recommendations, please visit:

The format of the SFS consists of a set of statements allowing multiple choice responses (on a five-point Likert scale from 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree) and two open-ended questions. The aim of the SFS is to provide all enrolled students studying eligible subjects with an opportunity to provide their feedback.

The Student Feedback Survey Vice-Chancellor's Directive provides detail on how the survey is administered and how the data and information is used. This directive was amended in late 2014, with changes effective from February 2015. See the SFS page for more information:


What is the rationale for the new, summative SFS questionnaire?

The revised questionnaire strengthens the focus on student engagement and learning and allows faculties to align questions with the learning modes being used for that subject. It also recognises three distinct sponsors of components of the SFS: subject coordinators, in conjunction with the teaching team; faculty management, in conjunction with the subject coordinator; and university senior management, in conjunction with Associate Deans (Teaching and Learning).

The revised, three-tiered SFS was developed with input from all faculties and has been tested with students and refined accordingly. It comprises of:

  • Core items - 3 subject-focused and 1 teacher-focused
  • Learning Mode items - can choose up to 2 Learning Modes, each with 2 pre-set items
  • Optional items - can choose a maximum of 2 from the updated Item Bank

The overall satisfaction with subject item has been retained (in its original form) from the previous SFS questionnaire. The two open-ended questions, like about subject and improvements to be made, have also been retained. “Overall I am satisfied with how this staff member facilitated my learning” is a modification of the previous overall satisfaction with teacher item.

The Learning Mode items allow each subject’s SFS to be customised to be more relevant to their respective subject delivery and learner experience. Faculties are asked to assign up to 2 Learning modes for each subject SFS. This is done in consultation with Associate Deans (Teaching & Learning) and subject coordinators. Teaching staff are not able to choose/change Learning Modes directly (from within their SFS account) but need to discuss with subject coordinators regarding their suitability and, if necessary, request changes.


What are the items in the new SFS?

The three core subject evaluation statements are:

  • The learning opportunities provided helped me meet the stated objectives of this subject
  • I made the most of my opportunities to learn in this subject
  • Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of this subject

The core teacher evaluation statement is:

  • Overall, I am satisfied with how this staff member facilitated my learning

The Learning Modes are based on various elements of the UTS Model of Learning. These Learning Modes are subject to change and revision in the future, as new Learning Modes may be introduced whilst others may be switched off. At present, the ten Learning Modes available are:

  • Professional Practice/Disposition
  • Global Workplace or Internationalised
  • Inquiry-based
  • Research-integrated
  • Critique-based
  • Trans-disciplinary Course
  • Assessment
  • Indigenous Professional Competence
  • Flipped Learning – Pre-work
  • Flipped Learning – Collaborative

Each has two pre-set items. Up to two Learning Modes can be chosen for a subject’s SFS, by Associate Deans (Teaching and Learning) and/or subject coordinators.

Two optional items from the Item Bank can be added, by teaching staff.

The two open-ended questions are:

  • What did you particularly like in this subject?
  • Please suggest any improvements that could be made to this subject


Who manages the SFS?

The SFS is managed by the faculties, in conjunction with the Planning and Quality Unit (PQU), and is guided by the "Student Feedback Survey Vice-Chancellor's Operational Directive" and other internal policies including the UTS Academic Staff Agreement.

UTS faculties ensure that every subject, including those taught offshore, are surveyed every year and preferably once in each major teaching period. PQU coordinates the online administration of the SFS and provides the faculties with analysis and reporting of the results at the end of each major semester.


Who is required to conduct an SFS?

As part of the probation process, commencing staff will be required to undertake student evaluations of all the subjects in which they have major teaching duties in each teaching session, and to provide copies of such evaluation reports as required in the probation process.

All other staff are required to undertake at least one student evaluation of their major teaching duties for each teaching session.

When does the summative SFS take place?

The principal survey periods for the summative SFS take place in the last few weeks of the Autumn semester (from mid-April to mid-May) and of the Spring semester (from mid-October to mid-November). Students are notified by email when online SFS become active and before they close. Faculties are responsible for contacting PQU to organise SFS for subjects being run outside these periods (e.g. Summer, July semesters).

Which subjects will be surveyed using the SFS?

All UTS subjects with an enrolment of 5 or more students are eligible to be evaluated using a Student Feedback Survey. Faculties will ensure that all eligible subjects, including those offered offshore, have been surveyed via the SFS at least once a year and preferably in each major teaching period.

Why are subjects with less than 5 enrolled students not eligible for the SFS?

Subjects with less than 5 students are not surveyed in order to protect the anonymity of students enrolled in these subjects.

What is the Item Bank?

The SFS item bank is a list of all approved items that can be added to your SFS order (maximum of two per survey). When you check the details of your surveys in the "Orders" page of your SFS account, the Item Bank can be accessed by clicking on the link provided in the explanatory text.

How do I add an extra item from the Item Bank?

To add an extra item from the Item Bank, go to the “Orders” page of your SFS Staff account and select the "Edit Extra Qs" button. You can select your extra items from the Item Bank in the “Extra questions” section of your survey order, by either typing in keywords or the Question ID in the search bar. Select your required items and press the “Save Changes” button to update your surveys.

Can I edit my extra item after I have entered it?

Not easily. You can edit your selection of additional items whilst you are logged into the current session. However, once you have logged out, these items are locked in. Only PQU or the Faculty Administrator can modify the selection after this point.

How do I create a customised item that is not in the Item Bank?

To request a customised item, submit it to PQU. If approved, PQU will then add it into the system.


If I am teaching a subject with a colleague, can we both submit extra Item Bank or customised items for the subject?

Yes, as long as the total number of extra items doesn't exceed 2.

Why is a subject that I am teaching not in my list of pending SFS?

Only UTS subjects that have 5 or more enrolments are available for evaluation. In addition, all the academic staff details on the survey are provided by your Faculty. If the Faculty is unaware of any changes to the teaching staff, then you may not be on the survey. In any of these situations, please contact your Faculty Administrator for clarification.


What happens to the SFS results?

Once the subject marks are finalised at the end of the semester, teaching staff receive an email notification from PQU advising that summary results have become available through their individual SFS system account. Since Spring 2014, teaching staff receive their SFS results 2 full days BEFORE subject coordinators and faculty management. This is a significant change from previous practice, where subject coordinators received results concurrently and faculty management 2 weeks earlier.

Will students be able to see any of the SFS results?

Students receive access to the aggregated results of their subject’s SFS one week after teaching staff. However, only those students who have been enrolled into the subject and allocated to the specific subject activity can view their corresponding results. In addition, only the aggregated results for the questions relating to the subject will be made available to students. The only exception to this is in cases where staff who are the sole teacher for that subject have chosen to withhold these results from students.

How do I view/download/print my SFS results?

  • When you have logged in to your SFS account click on the "Reports" tab.
  • A list of all the available reports will appear. In order to protect student anonymity reports must have a minimum of 5 responses to be released for viewing. A green "Results" button will appear when the results are available. This is normally after the final examination period has finished and student results have been finalised.
  • Click on the green "Results" button and you will be able to choose to view/download one of the following reports:
    • Individual report
    • Combined Subject report
    • Combined Academic Unit report
    • Combined Faculty report
    • Combined UTS Overall report
  • You can also print these results off as a PDF, including or excluding the comments.


When and how can I expect to see the results of the evaluation?

When the evaluation results are finalised, the Online SFS system will send you an email notification. You will be able to view completed Student Feedback Surveys online through the SFS site. Generally, you can only do this once the examination period has ended for the semester and when student marks have been finalised. The publication date for SFS results is set by the PQU Systems Administrator.

Who should I contact if I have further questions or comments about the SFS?

Email the Planning and Quality Unit ( with comments and questions.




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